Statement by The Peace Officers’ Association of Georgia

We see the death of George Floyd as both an atrocity and tragedy, that everyone, especially people of color fear. We understand the anger and frustration and respect the right to protest peacefully. We also join in the dedicated work and diligent efforts to reform and renew a partnership between the police and people of color that is based in respect, service, and trust.

We want all people to know that no one despises a bad cop, more than a good cop. We ask all people to understand that crime spawns from poverty, not race. We request all people to remember the police are the street level bureaucrats who are charged to carry out our elected governments policy.

Nothing is more important to a Georgia Peace officer than their integrity and reputation for doing what is right, in the right way. We know and understand the importance of our oath, and values. We particularly recognize the significance of our history, behavior, fairness, and legitimacy, especially through the perspective from people of color.

We recognize that unprofessional, unethical, or criminal police behavior exist, and can come from one bad apple, the apple barrel, or the whole orchard. Such is why we provide the education and training to develop and sustain a professional police culture, managed by competent leadership.

We request consideration of a perspective where righteous and professional police work can be viewed as dangerous, complex, complicated, and contextual. Oversight from our Supreme Court has long recognized that officers are often forced to make split-second judgments – in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving. However, this in no way, shape, fashion, or form ever justifies an officer’s unconstitutional behavior, bias conduct, use of excessive force, or complicity from fellow officer’s present who do not act to do right.

Finally, we ask for the reflection that peace officers regularly place themselves in harm’s way for anyone and everyone, and have a long history of giving their lives for people of all races, religions, ideologies, or lifestyles that they do not even know. This does not change, nor excuse bad or unlawful conduct or behavior, bias, or racial prejudice. But remember, like doctors, lawyers, and preachers, police officers must be recruited and hired from human race.

Now is not the time to destruct, but to construct partnerships in an environment of peaceful and meaningful dialogue focused on how we can all work together for a fruitful future for every American.

Our association is dedicated to the safety, professional behavior, growth, and development of our state’s peace officers. We are equally devoted to serving all citizens of our state, to protect their constitutional rights, promote their safety and security, and ensure their dignity and respect.